As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. But, at least in the direct mail space, you can’t expect people to take action without some pretty powerful words.
And you only have so many words to convince your readers to act. Word choice matters, headlines matter, readability matters. Small adjustments can be the difference between success and failure. So, the copy of your direct mail campaign deserves plenty of attention.
Here are five straightforward copy tips to keep in mind as you design your next direct mail campaign.
Entice your customers with an intriguing headline
Headlines determine whether your ad sinks or swims.
“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” – David Ogilvy
In other words, your headline plays a big role in the success of your ad.
Headings don’t just break your copy into digestible segments, they summarize pain points and entice readers to keep reading. They convey your understanding while priming a potential solution.
Consider a General Electric air conditioning ad from the 1950s, “Why swelter through another hot summer?” It hits a common struggle for people during the summer (hot days), while suggesting there’s a possible solution if you continue reading.
Headlines should embody a unique angle – one that will have readers wanting more. If your headlines don’t hook your readers, your ad doesn’t stand a chance.
Emphasize benefits, not features
Features are great, but they don’t close the deal. You must bridge the gap between your product’s features and the benefits they provide your customers.
People aren’t looking to compliment the many features of your product or service. Consumers are more self-focused than that. Copy shouldn’t say, “Oh, look how great we are.” It should highlight how it’ll benefit the reader, “Here’s how our great products solve your problems.”
Avoid big blocks of copy
Have you ever gotten a huge, block text message from someone? It doesn’t matter if they’re telling a long story or venting about something, that huge chunk of text is hard to read. Our eyes strain to read every consecutive, layered line.
Ads with long paragraphs are hard to read. When the objective is to retain your readers’ attention and interest, why risk pushing them away with overwhelming copy?
Think of it this way, would you rather eat a sandwich in three monstrous chomps or ten normal-sized bites? Keep your paragraphs short and easy to digest.
Use clear, easy-to-understand language
Readability is a critical component of your copy. When it comes to writing a compelling ad, complex sentences and advanced vocabulary are not the ingredients of success. Technical copy riddled with jargon will deter your readers – you’ll lose their attention, and your ad will wind up in the trash.
Concise sentences, short paragraphs, and easy vocabulary are the key components of readable copy.
Include an irresistible offer
People are bombarded with thousands of ads every day. Our minds are in a constant state of information sifting. If you want someone to act on your direct mail piece, you must include an irresistible offer. The offer needs to be engaging enough for the reader to take immediate action.
Leverage psychological persuasion tactics like social proof, scarcity, and consistency. For example, “limited time” and “supplies are running out” imply scarcity. They suggest limited time and supply, eliciting a sense of urgency.
In addition, every offer should include a clear call-to-action. Although calls-to-action conclude your direct mail copy, they should be top of mind as you design your campaign. From the beginning, you should have an objective in mind: what do you want readers to do? What’s the ultimate action you hope to inspire?
Do you want them to download a brochure or sign-up for a newsletter? Make it obvious and convenient.
Want to learn more? Reach out to us at MVP for more information on how we can help make your next direct mail campaign a success!